Libertarianism vs Anarchy, The Great Misconception


Donnie Davis – March 17, 2017

We often find ourselves as Libertarians, at odds with pretty much all political parties. Whether it be the Democrats on the topics of socialism and welfare, the Republicans on the topics of crime and warfare, or some other smaller party that plans to use “tax revenue” for some purpose they see befitting to their particular (usually personal) needs. I.E. “The Law” by Frederic Bastiat.

When faced with differences in opinions, and having their emotional arguments fought with rational logic, most people with whom we debate will start to lash out and try to prove themselves right by labeling us as one thing or another. The ones I personally tend to hear most are as follows; Statist (insert laughing emoji here), Globalist, Corporationalist (the hard left love this one), Liberal, Libtard, or etc. This all pales in comparison to the most used, Anarchist.

Anarchy as defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary;

A: Absence of Government

B: A state of lawlessness of political disorder to the absence of governmental authority

C: A utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government

Now when we speak about the ideas that we hold dear, particularly downsizing or repealing most or all government ran entities, we are labeled “Anarchist” by those who would oppose our way of thinking. That is honestly fine and fully within their 1st amendment right, but the use of the word always brings a smirk to my face due to its ignorant application. Anarchy to government is what Atheism is to religion. It is the complete absence of. We as Libertarians, are a political party. We fully believe in, and want a government of a VERY limited sort to exist. That in and of itself proves the claim that we are anarchists to be a complete falsehood.

We as young children are indoctrinated to believe that police are good, the government protects us from evils overseas, our social construct is to benefit everyone equally, and that Anarchy aka lawlessness is bad. As we start getting older, we naturally start to see that laws are an attempt by people in power to control people below them in social standing, and the enforcement agencies are their muscle. These laws are an attempt to impose through legislation the morality of those in power upon those who are their societal “underlings” by the agencies of enforcement. It is only a natural human response to rebel against this to bring an end to the “rule of law” over any facet of life. This is the “ebb and flow” of society, unfortunately too much flowing and not enough ebbing has occurred, but that is another topic for discussion later. Our society would label those who would rebel by any means, an Anarchist. This is the fruition of the social conditioning that we have all undergone, and we as Libertarians have rejected. This puts the WHOLE claim to rest, that we as Libertarians, are somehow Anarchist. Rest assured that even though we have a claim to political affiliation, we will still be called Anarchist. It never fails.

I would like to discuss the main principle differences that Libertarianism, Anarchy, and Protectionism (our current system) have just to clarify a few things.

Libertarianism: Clear cut definitions of law in which there is a violation of the natural rights of life, liberty, or property of a victim and will have clear cut punishments/reparations to those crimes

Anarchy: No clear cut definition of crimes, no clear cut definition of punishments to crimes, undefined and subjective

Protectionism: No clear cut definition of crime, no clear cut definition of punishments to crimes, attempts to keep people “safe” by making risky or shunned behavior illegal with no victims, nothing stolen, and nothing damaged, basically making natural selection illegal so people feel safe while living in a nerfed world

With the three systems that most people debate about in our nation described its clear to see that libertarianism and anarchy are no where close to being similar, aside from the freedom of the individual to do as they please. Even that is only a “close” comparison as we are free to do as we will up until the rights of another are violated. Libertarians realize that too many laws creates a world of oppression/tyranny and that you cannot legislate morality or darwinism.

“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws are so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow.” – James Madison


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The author’s views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Ask A Libertarian Team or its followers.


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